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Educators and City Officials Honor the Achievements of High School Students at the 2018 H.A.C.E. Awards

October, 2018
  • Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty
    Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty proclaims October 3, 2018 as H.A.C.E. Day in the City of Worcester.
  • Senator Harriette Chandler receives a painting in recognition for her dedication and commitment to H.A.C.E.
    Senator Harriette Chandler receives a painting in recognition for her dedication and commitment to H.A.C.E
  • Master of Ceremonies Future Focus Program Gilmarie Vongphakdy with Director of Community Bridges Deborah Gonzales
    Master of Ceremonies Future Focus Program Gilmarie Vongphakdy (L) with Director of Community Bridges Deborah Gonzales
  • 2018 H.A.C.E. Award winners
    2018 H.A.C.E. Award winners
  • From left: Eric Batista, Deborah Gonzalez, Hilda Ramirez, Iris Delgado, lga Lopez-hill, Maria Addison, Gilmarie Vongphakdy and M
    From left: Eric Batista, Deborah Gonzalez, Hilda Ramirez, Iris Delgado, lga Lopez-hill, Maria Addison, Gilmarie Vongphakdy and Marco Estrella.

Honoring those high school students in the Latino community who have excelled in arts, academics, athletics, community service, leadership and civic/political engagement is the premise behind the Annual H.A.C.E. (Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence) Youth Awards. Created in 1985 by faculty and staff at QCC, along with business and community leaders in the Worcester community, the H.A.C.E. Awards were developed to raise community awareness of Hispanic culture. This year’s event was dedicated in memory of Liz Ortiz, a longtime QCC employee who was instrumental in making the annual H.A.C.E. event so successful. Celebrating its 33rd award ceremony, this year’s H.A.C.E. awards honored 30 Latino students from Worcester schools. Since its inception, H.A.C.E. awards have been bestowed on 611 students with monetary awards totaling $43,050. 

At this year's awards ceremony, special recognition in the form of a painting by former H.A.C.E award recipient Edmy Ortiz, was given to Senator Harriette Chandler for her dedication and commitment to H.A.C.E. Senator Chandler has been a H.A.C.E. committee member for 25 years. Mayor Joseph Petty once again proclaimed October 3, 2018 as H.A.C.E. Day in the City of Worcester and encouraged each student honoree to come back to Worcester once they were successful in the workforce.

“Make Worcester a better place for the next generation,” he said.

Master of Ceremony was QCC’s Coordinator of the Future Focus Program Gilmarie Vongphakdy and keynote speaker for the event was Eric Batista, Chief of Operations and Project Management, for the City of Worcester. Mr. Batista discussed what it meant to be successful, noting that success is an accomplishment of your purpose.

QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja also spoke at the awards event, telling students, “It’s not the destination that defines you, but sometimes it’s the journey that shapes you and makes you who you are. Cherish that journey every moment.”

Three special awards were given during the award ceremony presentation and included:

Sofia Vallejo  - a Burncoat High School student, class officer and senior leader, who received the Marlyn Reyes Memorial Community Leadership Award. This award is given in memory of Maryln Reyes, a woman who was a member of one of the first Hispanic families to migrate to Worcester in the early 1960s. She dedicated her life to the improvement of her community and made an indelible and lasting impression on the Latino community. Among Ms. Vallejo's future goals are to attend college where she hopes to either be a psychology major or a pediatric surgeon.

“I’ll always live my life to the fullest helping ones in need along the way to benefit and impact lives,” Ms. Vallejo said.

Luz Mejia, a mother of three (now four as of this event) and full-time student at QCC majoring in the human services program received the Olga López-Hill Community Leadership Scholarship. This award is given to a student who works hard at his or her life and the lives of others, and exhibits the attributes and characteristics associated with community leadership and who recognize the importance of education.

“I am surrounded by a melting pot of cultures. My dream is to be part of our community, share my knowledge and skills with others, hopefully through the human services community,” Ms. Mejia said.

Maria-Simone Sarmiento, a Burncoat High School student received the Dolly Vazquez Cultural Award. It is given to a student who exemplifies the attributes of Ms. Dolly Vasquez, known as a passionate advocate for her cultural involvement within the City of Worcester. Ms. Sarmiento has had a passion for arts since she witnessed her mom connect academics with the arts in an afterschool program. She attends the Burncoat Arts Magnet where she said she is exposed to a “loving and creative environment.” She plans to attend college and major in acting, theater and creative writing and minor in film.

The 2018 H.A.C.E.  Award winners:

Academics

  • Diego Alonso – South High Community School
  • Oscar Amparo – Claremont Academy
  • Bryan Escobar – Worcester Technical High School
  • Marlene Nunez - Worcester Technical High School
  • John Pena – North High School
  • Ricardo Reyes – St. Peter Marian High School
  • Jeselyn Rodriguez – Southbridge High School
  • Janely Rosario – University Park Campus School
  • Ana-Sofia Sarmiento – Burncoat High School
  • Daria Soto – Doherty Memorial High School

Arts

  • Darylis Alvarez-Figueroa - University Park Campus School
  • Jessica Bigio Morales - North High School
  • Antonio Calderon – Claremont Academy
  • Andy Jimenez - South High Community School
  • Angel Ortiz - Southbridge High School
  • Maria-Simone Sarmiento - Burncoat High School
  • Fatima Sinecio – Doherty Memorial High School

Athletics

  • Benjamin Alvarado - South High Community School
  • Alexis Batista - North High School
  • Paolo Bustos - Burncoat High School
  • Edrian Mendez - Claremont Academy
  • Erick Orellana - Doherty Memorial High School

Leadership

  • Melanie Aguilar - Claremont Academy
  • Net Andino - South High Community School
  • Itzelanie Chacon - Worcester Technical High School
  • Bruna Matias - Doherty Memorial High School
  • Jaquelyn Morales - University Park Campus School
  • Joanelys Pabon – North High School
  • Ricardo Ponce - University Park Campus School
  • Sofia Vallejo - Burncoat High School
  • Doris Vasquez - Worcester Technical High School
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